I’ve always brushed off the concept of ‘service’ at hotels that don’t cost the earth. If you aren’t paying top dollar to stay somewhere, you can only expect so much. When I booked in for the five star Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge in St Petersburg last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of service or quality. I was very grateful that I had the kind and friendly staff of the Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge to help me out, given what happened just before I got to the hotel.
The flight that took me from Moscow to St Petersburg wasn’t my first on Aeroflot. I knew what to expect. However, what I wasn’t expecting was to arrive without my suitcase. This was the first time this has ever happened to me. In all fairness, I was very late to the airport in Moscow, due to some delightful traffic incidents. However, despite my bag being located that very night, it still took three days to get to me.
Each time I rang the airport for information, I would get hung up on for not speaking Russian. It was pointless. I wasn’t going to ever get it back on my own. I could track the bag online, but it constantly said ‘At St Petersburg Airport’. In the end, it was the helpful hotel staff that managed to get it back for me. They were pretty excited for me when they were able to wheel out my old purple friend from behind the reception desk, three days after I had last seen it.
In addition to having helpful and friendly staff, the hotel is well-priced, and well located. Okay, it’s not located right in the city. It’s on Vasilievsky Island. But St Petersburg is surprisingly expensive. In the summer, when I visited, its location offered a beautiful 15 minute walk back from the Palace Square. It’s hardly a taxing journey, and you can enjoy the Rostral Columns by night. It felt very safe. It’s located in a great spot for visiting the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Kunstkamera, and there are lots of little shops and restaurants in the vicinity. If you don’t want to walk, there are several nearby metro stations. I caught an Uber back from the city late at night, and it only cost me a few hundred roubles.
The hotel is of quite an interesting design, joining two older buildings (including wine cellars), old and new styles combining rather well. The lobby area is a particularly nice blend of these designs, with the actual rooms being in a more modern block style.
The food was amazing, too. The buffet breakfast is one of the best I have ever come across, with every type of food imaginable. And a crepe station! Delicious. I also dined at Sevilla one night because I was too tired to go back out, and wasn’t disappointed. The food was Mediterranean inspired, but had an interesting Scandi twist to it (the Sokos chain is Finnish). Interestingly for a hotel, they have a unique dining concept on offer – dining in the dark. I didn’t give it a go, but the reviews were good.
One other thing that I didn’t use was the pool, but it looked gorgeous. I hadn’t bought my togs with me. I spent a fair bit of time staring at it. The hotel hosts a THANN Day Spa and the largest swimming pool in the city, several saunas and a hamman. The spa is actually a strong selling point for the hotel, and many guests seemed to visit in particular to visit.
The room itself was stylish, older but comfortable. Given the price of hotels in the city, I was very pleased with the quality. It had a huge, well appointed bathroom, with nice amenities. The room itself was large. It had air-conditioning, but I enjoyed sleeping with the window open – it was very quiet.
If you are looking for a cost effective and well appointed stay in St Petersburg, along with friendly staff, you can’t go past the Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge.
Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge
V.o. Birzhevoi Pereulok 2-4, 199004, St. Petersburg
From 460AED per night
All photos belong to Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge